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I have a couple of questions...

I am a repair technician of over 20 years that specializes in 
Buffet clarinet pro work. So I do have a pretty good handle on 
what is proper and what is not. My questions concern an old 
wooden flute I have been given.

This particular flute has no maker mark on it, so it is going 
to be difficult (if not impossible) to determine the maker, and 
that would be nice. The only marks _anywhere_ are on about half 
of the keys, and those are 2 slash marks (//). 

This instrument is a 13 key flute with an ivory head joint 
(nickel sleeve inside the ivory). It has a tuning barrel and 
two main joints. The bottom C# and C keys have dark orange 
rollers. The keys are nickel and are hinged on pins, not screws.
There is a ring at the bottom of the flute to keep the wood 
from splitting, and besides it looks nice.

My questions are as follows, and I really don't know where else 
to ask:

1) The ivory has a crack about 3/64" wide, along its entire 
length. I have some legal ivory that I purchased from the 
Martin Guitar Company that I could use to fill this crack. Is 
it considered okay to do this, or should I leave it alone, and 
not be able to play the instrument?

2) If I decide to repair it, what is the best solution for 
aging the new ivory. I've heard of people using tea. The old 
ivory is of course a dark yellow and the new is _very_ white.

3) The key cups are very nice on the outside; sharp corners. It 
looks like they have never been buffed, but are remarkablely 
clean after just a chemical cleaning. The insides are coarse 
and spherical, like a bowl. What type of pad would have been 
used in these cups? Bladder covered, or kid? Were the pads very 
soft, or firm? I can make the pads without any problem. I have 
experience doing this...( don't ask how?) :-)

4) Would it be sacrilegious to silver plate the keys and posts. 
I do this for my customers all the time, and I play on all 
silver clarinets. I also can plate gold, nickel or copper at my 
shop. But would I be taking away from the makers work?

I really like this instrument and I'm sure I will wind up doing 
what I want anyway, but I need to be aware of possibilities so 
I may make an informed decision.

Thanks in advance.

Steve Fowler
Fowler Music Service
Annapolis, MD
(410) 267-5991

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